Blu-ray Review: ‘Starship Troopers: Invasion’

Did you ever see “Jason Takes Manhattan”? Yeah, “Starship Troopers: Invasion” is the “Jason Takes Manhattan” of “Starship Troopers” movies. Just what does this CG animated feature from “Appleseed” and “Appleseed Ex Machina” director Shinji Aramaki and video game writer Flint Dille have to do with eighth movie in the long-running slasher series?

Well, besides the fact that neither of them has Casper Van Dien, both woefully over-promise on their concepts, and under-deliver in the execution, completely failing to deliver the promised carnage of the title.

This third direct-to-DVD sequel to the now 15-year-old (oof) “Starship Troopers” brings back pilot and now captain of her own ship Carmen Ibanez (voiced here by Luci Christian), whose ship has been commandeered by the sinister government spook Carl Jenkins (Justin Doran) for his own secretive, in no way involving experiments on the bugs purposes. Of course, that kind of thing always goes bad, and it’s up to a band of highly-trained Marines led by the disgraced Major Henry “Hero” Varro to pull Carl’s fat out of the fire and keep the bugs from aiming the ship straight towards Earth. Star Casper Van Dien acted as producer here, but is replaced by voice actor David Matranga as the scarred and eye patch wearing Johnny Rico is now a general in the Earth forces, responsible for keeping the homeworld safe from the bug menace.

The subsequent body count is high and the animation of the heavily-armored Marines in their power suits is fine (although skin and faces are still lacking), but the characters are multiple types of grating, (the tattooed polytheist is maybe the worst), while the script, lacking any kind of satirical edge found in Verhoeven’s film or any compelling action hook could easily be a discarded Aliens plot from the Dark Horse Comics days.

Also, the hero’s nickname is “Hero,” which is kind of… yeah. This movie lacks not only subtext but it barely has text.

Even after having just watched the movie, there’s very little I can remember beyond the “hey boobs” shower scene and some interesting, well-realized bug designs, but beyond that, you can sit this “Invasion” out.

Presentation and Special Features

You can’t fault anyone involved for the presentation, which delivers “Starship Troopers: Invasion” with the glossiest, sharpest possible image.

There are plenty of audio options available, too: English, French, and Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD Master tracks, along with Spanish and Thai 5.1 audio.

Director Shinji Aramaki provides commentary here, along with a Sony rep named Ishizuka. The duo’s chat track is mostly descriptive, and complimentary (i.e. “This line looked nice,” or “What a cool piece of dialog”). They do provide the occasional tidbit like Easter eggs from the previous films and the novel making their way into the film.

Besides the commentary, there’s also a Conceptual Art Gallery, a pair of deleted scenes (01:36), a gag reel (03:24) featuring voice over outtakes, and the 11-part “Making of ’Starship Troopers: Invasion'” (19:59) looking at the origins and production of the film.

“Starship Troopers: Invasion” is available on DVD and Blu-ray from Sony Home Pictures Entertainment.